A bipartisan group of 13 US senators has introduced a resolution calling for the establishment of a partnership program between the US National Guard and Taiwan’s defense forces “for fast deployment during a crisis.”
US senators Rick Scott, Tammy Duckworth and John Cornyn were among the lawmakers who introduced the legislation, titled the Taiwan partnership act, in the US Senate on Tuesday.
Identical legislation was filed in the US House of Representatives.
The resolution urges the creation of a partnership between the US National Guard and Taiwan’s defense forces to “ensure a well-integrated defense force capable of fast deployment during a crisis,” Scott said in a statement.
The non-binding measure calls for increasing exchanges between defense officials and military personnel of the two nations, with the goal of enhancing Taiwan’s reserve forces and improving interoperability among its military branches.
Taiwan faces a growing level of “aggression” from Beijing, making it imperative for the US to make clear that it stands with Taiwan in defense of its democracy, Scott added.
“This legislation carries an important message to [Chinese Communist Party] General Secretary Xi [Jinping, 習近平] that we will not tolerate his threats against Taiwan’s autonomy,” he said.
Duckworth, a National Guard veteran who visited Taipei last month, said that the bill would evaluate ways to enhance cooperation with Taiwan, which she called “an important strategic partner for the US in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The National Guard is “ideally suited” to partner with Taiwan in areas such as emergency response, cyberdefense, education, cultural exchanges and advisory programs, she said.
In Taipei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) yesterday thanked the US Congress members for their continued support of Taiwan.
The ministry would watch the bill’s development, and maintain close contact with its friends in the US Congress and administration in a bid to continue to deepen their bilateral partnership, Ou said.
Meanwhile, senior diplomats from the US, Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss issues ranging from North Korea and COVID-19 responses to the situation in the Taiwan Strait.
US Department of State spokesman Ned Price said that Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman held talks with her counterparts, Japanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori and South Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jong-kun.
Regarding Taiwan, they affirmed the need to maintain regional peace, unimpeded commerce and adherence to international law, “including freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and beyond,” Price said.
The discussion also emphasized the “importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he added.
Sherman, the No. 2 US diplomat, is on the first leg of a one-week trip to Japan, South Korea and Mongolia.
Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese Internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Fragile (玻璃心), by Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink” Internet users, a disparaging term that describes patriotic “keyboard warriors” from China. After racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube, the song reached No. 3 on the site in Malaysia on Thursday, according to Kworb, a Web site that analyzes music data from around the world. It is also the only Chinese-language
NO CHANGE: US officials indicated that the ‘one China’ policy remains in place, while the NATO chief avoided discussing Biden’s comment in an effort to ease tensions US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday that the Pentagon would continue to support Taiwan’s military, but he declined to say if US troops would defend the island against China, after US President Joe Biden said there was a US “commitment” to do so. “As we’ve done over multiple administrations, we will continue to help Taiwan with the sorts of capabilities that it needs to defend itself,” Austin said at NATO headquarters. “So we’ll stay focused on those things, and I won’t engage in any hypotheticals with respect to Taiwan,” he told reporters. Biden on Thursday sparked a new firestorm
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,
The nationwide level 2 COVID-19 alert, which is set to expire on Monday next week, is to be extended, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told reporters before heading to a meeting at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei that the COVID-19 alert level “will not be lowered on November 2,” but he did not say how long the extension would be. Taiwan has been under level 2 alert, the third-highest on the nation’s four-tier scale, since July 27. The CECC yesterday reported eight new COVID-19 infections — six imported